Aug 142013

Sen. Navarro, Photo: Chilean Senate

Chilean Senators Navarro, Gomez and Tuma introduced a proyecto de acuerdo to the Senate that asks the President to open a public debate on the Transpacific  Partnership Agreement (TPP). It formally requests the President to provide “timely and accurate” information on the affects the agreement will have on Chile domestically, and on economic and international relations, including Chile’s trade relationship with China.

The request notes that both former Direcon Director Carlos Furche and economist Osvaldo Rosales have warned the TPP may not offer significant benefits to Chile, because it already has trade agreements with the other TPP members.   Continue reading »

Jun 042013

Rep. Jim McDermott

Last week Jim McDermott wrote an op-ed in Roll Call on the TPP in which he warned that the U.S. proposal for intellectual property in the TPP could “cost millions of lives in developing countries.” McDermott wrote that the proposal extends patent monopolies on pharmaceuticals further than TRIPS:  “It would extend patents beyond the current 20-year norm and block national regulators from using existing clinical trial data to approve the production of generic or “bio-similar” drugs. Alarmingly, the proposal also outlaws ‘pre-grant opposition’ that allows doctors and patients to provide information to their governments about patents they believe do not meet national rules, an important democratic safeguard. The proposal also requires the patenting of new versions of old medicines, even when the new versions offer no additional therapeutic benefits. It even requires patenting of surgical, therapeutic and diagnostic methods, which not only is unethical but also could increase medical liability and the cost of practice.” Continue reading »

May 222013

capitol building - USG photoRepresentatives Waxman, Lee, DeLauro, Schakowsky, and Bass have sent a letter to Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis supporting a proposal by Haiti to allow poor countries extra time to enact stronger rules on patent, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property.

The issue involves the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which requires countries to adopt certain intellectual property standards. For instance, the TRIPS Agreement requires 20 year patents on all inventions (including medicines) and long copyrights on most works (including textbooks).  TRIPS rules give IP owners the ability to set monopoly prices for goods, which can be unaffordable for many, especially in poor countries. Therefore, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) were granted extra time to implement TRIPS when the WTO was established, and this transition period was subsequently extended.     Continue reading »

May 092013

PresidentialSeal[White House press release, May 9, 2013]  The Obama Administration today took groundbreaking new steps to make information generated and stored by the Federal Government more open and accessible to innovators and the public, to fuel entrepreneurship and economic growth while increasing government transparency and efficiency.

Today’s actions—including an Executive Order signed by the President and an Open Data Policy released by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy—declare that information is a valuable national asset whose value is multiplied when it is made easily accessible to the public.  The Executive Order requires that, going forward, data generated by the government be made available in open, machine-readable formats, while appropriately safeguarding privacy, confidentiality, and security. Continue reading »

May 072013

ustr-logoToday the U.S. Trade Representative issued a Federal Register Notice seeking “comments from the public on all issues related to Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations [and] comments on negotiations to address certain non-tariff measures of Japan that will be conducted bilaterally in parallel to the TPP negotiations and addressed by the conclusion of the TPP negotiations.”

The deadline for comments is June 9. Continue reading »

Apr 082013

nsfLast year the National Science Foundation published an issue brief by John Jankowski on the importance that American firms in different industries place on intellectual property.  It presents survey data showing which industries rely on which types of IP:  trade secrets, trademarks, utility patents, design patents, copyrights, or mask works.  Firms were asked to rank these types of IP protection as “very important,” “somewhat important” or “not important.”  Jankowski shows how different types of intellectual property are far more important to some industries than others.  Trademarks, trade secrets and copyright were valued most by the companies in the survey, yet 84%, 85%, and 88% of all firms surveyed said these were “not important” to them.

The results are more interesting when they are broken down by industry and compared to last year’s USPTO report  Intellectual Property in the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus. Continue reading »

Apr 022013

australia flagThe Australian government has released the draft report of its Pharmaceutical Patents Review, which had been tasked to “review the effectiveness of the Australian patent system in providing timely access to affordable pharmaceutical and medical treatments and supporting innovation.”  The report considered domestic law on patents, data exclusivity, and pharmaceuticals, as well as Australia’s current trade obligations and its position in ongoing trade negotiations. Continue reading »

Nov 192012

RSC Staffer Derek Khanna

Last Friday, the Republican Study Committee published a report by staffer Derek Khanna titled Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It.  The brief received immediate attention and was redacted the following day.

Khanna argues in the policy brief that the current copyright regime provides excessive terms of protection, carries excessive penalties, and no longer encourages innovation, as intended by the Constitution. He suggests four reforms – reforming statutory damages, expanding fair use, punishing false copyright claims, and limiting the term of copyright to 12 years, with options for periodic renewals in return for increasing fees. Even after a series of term extensions, the maximum proposed term would be 46 years. Continue reading »

Jul 122012

Mexico’s Ambassador to Japan, Claude Heller, signed ACTA on July 12, 2012. A press release by the Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI),  said that the agreement aims to “provide Mexican people with a sound international protection of their intellectual property rights, to attract new investments, to ensure the existing work flows, to increase the creation of formal jobs and to foster the creativity, innovation and competitiveness of our enterprises.”  It further asserts that ACTA “does not contravene the Human Rights acknowledged in our Constitution and in International Treaties to which Mexico is a party.” Continue reading »

Jun 272012

Dear Ambassador Kirk:

We write with regard to the ongoing negotiations over a potential Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement (FTA), an agreement that continues to grow in scope.  Specifically, we write to urge you and your staff to engage in broader and deeper consultations with members of the full range of committees of Congress whose jurisdiction touches on the wide-ranging issues involved, and to ensure there is ample opportunity for Congress to have input on critical policies that will have broad ramifications for years to come.

As the President noted in his remarks at the November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, those involved in the TPP FTA negotiations are seeking “a high-level trade agreement that could potentially be a model, not just for countries in the Pacific region, but for the world generally.”  In doing so, this pact would establish rules that extend far beyond traditional trade matters to include “a whole range of new trade issues that are going to be coming up in the future – innovation, regulatory convergence, how we’re thinking about the Internet and intellectual property.” Continue reading »

Jun 262012

Yesterday, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator published a Federal Register Notice seeking public comments on a new Joint Strategic Plan for IP enforcement.  Comments are due July 25.  The request asks for “detailed recommendations from the public regarding specific recommendations for improving the U.S. Government’s intellectual property enforcement efforts…. [and] submissions from the public regarding existing and emerging threats to the protection of intellectual property rights and the identification of threats to public health and safety and the U.S. economy resulting from intellectual property infringement…. Continue reading »

Jun 252012

Senators Brown, Wyden, Merkley, and Menendez Call on Administration to Demonstrate Transparency by Posting “Detailed Information” and “Consistent Updates” Regarding TPP Proposals

Press Contact: 202 – 224 – 3978

Monday, June 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.— With negotiations on a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement continuing next week in California, a group of senators are urging the Administration to increase transparency of the negotiations to ensure, among other issues, that all relevant stakeholders in matters involving internet freedom are officially consulted. U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) called on United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk to broaden the advisory group on intellectual property rights and to provide more detailed information on TPP proposals. Continue reading »